Bankers Digest

by Patrick Flanagan

ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.

IberiaBank buys Teche
Perhaps one of the biggest banking stories of the past year came with the Jan. 13 announcement that IberiaBank was buying Teche Holding Co. The deal, valued at $161 million, came as a financial windfall for Teche's top executives, namely brothers Patrick and Ross Little, whose combined take came in at over $30 million (and that's just the stock portion). The downside of the merger came with an announcement issued April 1 that IberiaBank had filed the necessary paperwork to lay off 97 workers at Teche Federal's corporate headquarters in New Iberia.

BancorpSouth expands its Acadiana footprint
The Mississippi-based company started construction on a new Acadiana regional headquarters last summer. The new 8,000-square-foot office, located on Settlers Trace Boulevard, opened for business April 14. The bank's two existing Lafayette offices merged into one with the opening of the new HQ, and also prompted the hiring of five new employees, says Bancorp's top Acadiana executive Ken Judice. "Our performance here in South Louisiana has been very positive, and Lafayette is one of the top performing markets within the franchise," says Judice. "Everything we're hearing from corporate about the South Louisiana market here has been extremely positive and confident, especially in regards to Lafayette."

Investar arrives
The Baton Rouge-based Investar Bank made its Lafayette debut last year, snagging respected banking executive Keith Short to head the Lafayette market, and kicking off construction on its 6,300-square-foot office on Ambassador Caffery Parkway. Construction has since finished, and Investar's Lafayette office is now open for business. The bank's parent company, Investar Holding Corporation announced plans in mid-September for an initial public offering of the company's common stock. If approved, the plan, according to an Investar press release at the time, is for an IPO of $40 million of its common stock at a value of $1 per share in 2014.

MidSouth goes global
In September, MidSouth Bancorp expanded its worldwide reach by transferring the listing of its common stock from the NYSE MKT (formerly the American Stock Exchange) to the globally marketed NYSE. Through the transfer, the bank was allowed to keep its existing "MSL" ticker symbol. The move, according to MidSouth President and CEO Rusty Cloutier, was all about increasing the company's trading distribution.

Teche announces revenue drop; first in five years
In early February, less than a month after confirming that it is being bought by IberiaBank, Teche Holding Co. announced its first earnings decrease in five years. The company reported earnings of $2.4 million, or $1.15 per share, for the first three months of the company's first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31 - a $700,000 drop from the $3.1 million, or $1.49 per share, reported during the first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year.

Jerry Reaux remembered
On Feb. 10, Acadiana lost one of its most admired banking executives with the death of Jerry Reaux - a longtime industry veteran and one of IND Media's founding partners. In a career spanning three decades, the last three years as chief operating officer and vice chairman of the board for MidSouth Bank, Reaux made a name for himself among his peers in the industry, and was described by MidSouth President and CEO Rusty Cloutier as "one of the greatest bankers of all time, loved by the entire industry." A scholarship has since been created in Reaux's name to help students studying finance at UL Lafayette, where Reaux himself earned a bachelor's degree in finance in 1984.